Small businesses often operate through word of mouth and recommendations/referrals. As valuable as these tactics are, it is also becoming increasingly essential to supplement such personal approaches with a solid online presence – not just to get in the lead, but often to simply not be left behind.
To be sure, the internet has proved an arduous disruption to many small and medium independents that don’t necessarily have the budget for a sleek website and well designed digital communications. This is why we bring you these 5 top tips – we hope with our help you’ll be able to turn a challenge into an advantage in the world of the digital.
1. List your business on Google Maps
It sounds obvious but it is indeed an oft overlooked detail. Consumers go online before they decide to part with their money, and this trend is only set to grow as smartphone use increases; so to make sure you are where this decision is made list your business on Google Places for Business. It’s entirely free, although you can pay to be pushed to the top of the list locally.
2. Refresh your online presence
Many businesses want to get going as quickly as possible, which frequently results in having cheaply made, outdated or underwhelming online communications, in terms of presentation or content, or both. By all means claim your social media accounts, but go back and assess how your company is presented – does your website represent your values, what you stand for? Make sure all relevant information is up to date. Check your address is listed, opening hours, product range, contact details and directions to your store. Google Maps can help here.
3. Use analytics to track your customers’ journeys
If you haven’t already done so, make sure you have an analytics product set up on your website to monitor where your visitors come from and what they do once they’re there. The most powerful product is also free, luckily – Google Analytics. For more tips on how to crack web analytics please see this post: Growing Online, or Why You Should Stop Ignoring Web Analytics.
4. Build a community to sell for you
Easier said than done, but if you manage to build a vibrant online community around your brand, your ambassadors will be happy to do most of the work for you. Provide a space online where there are incentives for your customers (for example, a Facebook page with a wealth of very useful tips) and engage with your advocates often.
5. Start selling online
Arguably, e-commerce is the future of shopping. Compliment your offline efforts by adding an online store on your website to increase your sales. It’s less scary than it sounds – there are plenty of easy to use tools that don’t cost the earth. Some of them are even free and open source, such as Magento Content Management System.
Do you need help with your digital strategy? Give us a call today to discuss what we can do for you and your business!